Monday, November 25, 2013

The Year Friendsgiving was at Our House

I've never been to a blow dry bar before, but I thought Friendsgiving would be a good occasion to give it a try since every time I do it myself my sisters laugh and insist my hair isn't actually straightened. It's really hard to get to this odd extra curly section at the back of my head and, well anyways, I thought I'd get some assistance. My stylist was helping train a new employee, so instead of making conversation with me, she made commentary to her trainee like "She doesn't have a ton of hair and her head is really tiny, so this shouldn't take that long…"

I ended up liking how she styled it and my sisters approved, so I guess that's all that really matters. 

We had 19 people over, putting our house close to its maximum capacity. We borrowed tables and chairs and decorated them with drop cloths, natural fiber runners from Target and mason jars to help the great big dining table go with the rest of our house. The mason jars and bamboo cutlery from Party City helped minimize the carbon footprint that I was worried about leaving.

I used raffia and wooden leaves from Paper Source for the name tags, in case you were wondering. Scott and I wrote our guest's names on the leaves with a wood burner (and I'll be honest, it was mostly Scott since my handwriting sucks). On the back we wrote three things we were thankful for about each person. I knew we were all going to get pretty rowdy with Bill bringing two pony kegs of home brew and all, so I wanted to make sure there was still a sentimental aspect to the party. I also feel constantly compelled to make sure the people I love know it, and think about how to show them often. Where would I be without them? I wonder this all of the time too. 

I was still tying the name tags to the cups about an hour before everyone arrived. With the kitchen turned pretty much to dust eight days earlier, putting together the party took until the last possible minutes. Thankfully, we finished the kitchen at 9pm the night before and no one was on time.

It didn't rain like it was supposed to, but the clouds that did show up to the party were a great canvas for the sun. 

My parents came over in the middle of the party just to show us how to make the gravy (as a vegetarian, you can try to guess how many times I've done that) and had been at our house for the last two days helping us prepare. They gave us the lights for the backyard and Kevin's neighbor let us borrow his heat lamp. Our friends brought all of the side dishes so all we had to do was not burn the turkey or gravy. We just might have without my parents though. I think it goes without saying that this party was possible because of the generosity of others.

At dinner Scott and I decided to sit at the heads of the table. There was a moment mid meal where we finally made eye contact. Even from 20 feet away I could see the content in his eyes. These get-togethers are like sunshine for him and me.

We seated everyone boy, girl, boy, girl, with no one next to their significant other, my mom's idea. It was a good one.

The drop cloths became canvases. We will pass them on to the person who hosts Friendsgiving next year.

We played Reverse Charades to see if boys or girls had to do the dishes. The boys lost, but I think they somehow got sidetracked by the hats in the garage while the girls thought this was the perfect occasion to go through my underwear drawer and get rid of things…

 I think I probably said this at least seven times at the party, but of all the scenarios I considered, never once did I think my hat rack and underwear drawer would get raided. 

The house was trashed in the morning, but I think you can guess what I'm going to say: of course, it was worth it. 

While I was cleaning up, I started thinking about how everybody is searching, sometimes hurting, sometimes hoping, sometimes laughing, sometimes crying in life. I know I've been doing all of those things lately. It's really good to be reminded that we have each other as we go through it all. 

p.s. my favorite song right now. I like this version a little more than the Bob Dylan one, and it somehow seems like a holiday song even though it isn't. 

p.p.s. if you need a really delicious and easy Thanksgiving appetizer, you might want to try this Carmel Apple Cream Cheese dip. I'm going to make it for Thanksgiving at Scott's parent's house.

p.p.p.s. a fun thing we did with family:  What's Your Animal Personality Type? I'm a wolf. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Week Before Friendsgiving

It's been raining off and on all week, but that's ok. California needs rain and when there's a desperate need for something you want it to be fulfilled. I've been surfing when it's raining anyways. Some of these photos give you an idea of what it's like to surf here in the winter. It can be cold and stormy and uncrowded and…it's my favorite. I find so much peace being out there all by myself. Like it's just me and the ocean and I have its full attention. I sing about five words from songs that are stuck in my head over and over again and watch the birds hunt for food while I hunt for ridable waves. There aren't many, but sometimes I feel the reason I came out isn't for riding them anyways.  

Last Friday, Scott and my dad worked on the house while I caught a few storm trooper waves before it was completely dark. After surfing, Scott, my parents and I went to dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant in town. We can only eat there when it's below 60ยบ because we want to thoroughly enjoy the hot spaghetti, red wine and candlelight. 

After dinner we went to a surf party with Roberta, but my parents quickly bailed once they realized everyone was under 30 and the only beverage available was Pabst Blue Ribbon. 

On Saturday, I was up before the sun. This usually happens. On the day I can sleep in, I'm up at 5:38 listening to Royals, printing pictures off of Pinterest and pasting them into my notebook. It reminds me of waking up before my parents as a kid and finding activities until they were ready to start their own day. I love how quiet it is in the morning. In the afternoon my mom taught me how to hem my Friendsgiving dress.

Though once Monday arrived, all of this weekend lightheartedness seemed to sink down like sand does into the street cracks when it rains. There's been lots of transitions lately with my new part time jobs, but most difficult of all has been coming to the realization that bad people sometimes get their way, and there's definitely been moments of me being that version of myself I don't like. Sometimes I feel like there must be a quota on the amount of things that a person can be struggling with at one time. Like once you reach your breaking point, God will make it stop, but I don't think that's how it works. And anyways, I'm not anywhere near suffering, just trying to sort things out in my head (and probably being a bit dramatic).

Maybe I'm happy for these struggles. Maybe I know they're making me stronger. Maybe I need them like California needs the rain.

Tomorrow 21 people will come over to our house and we will welcome them with open arms and (hopefully) a functioning kitchen and we will laugh and drink and talk and eat and…I think the rain will have been good for us all.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Happy Thoughts {+ Frontside Off-The-Lip Tips}

I check to make sure no one is taking off down the line.

I'm kind of nervous to have Chris shooting photos of me. 

I put it in my mind that I was going to shoot with him since I began reading Jetty Girl in the early 2000s and here I was determined not to blow it.

The wave that comes to me opens up perfectly and by some miracle, no one else is around to paddle for it.

The sound of the train whistle drifts across the water with the off-shore winds as I stand up. 

I immediately focus on the last section of the wave that is breaking towards me now. If I do something special with this wave, it will stay with me in more ways than just the photos from Chris' camera. 

As I hit the lip with all my energies, the wave explodes back up at me, but the whitewash lets me free.

There's children playing at a playground, weird seaweed-eating tractors and policemen on the beach, but I don't notice any of this until I get out of the water because I am so focused on the ocean. 

I run back to my car to avoid an expired meter ticket and drive away from Oceanside thinking happy thoughts. 

Frontside Off-The-Lip Tutorial

Step 1: Drop into the wave and gain as much speed as you can by pumping across its open face. The more speed, the more powerful your turn will be. 
Step 2: Time your bottom turn so that you are at the bottom of the wave, laying into your toe-side rail, just as the lip or whitewash is appearing. A strong bottom turn is key because it will give you the drive you need to make it up the face of the wave. 
Step 3: Make sure you have your back foot pushing towards the tail. Begin to move up the face of the wave and aim your upper body at the lip.
Step 4: Hit the lip of the wave as high as you can. 
Step 5: Turn your upper body towards the beach and spot your landing. Distribute your weight evenly between both feet and keep your chest open and your head up. If it's a steep section then you are really going to have to stomp on the tail to keep from pearling  (nose diving). 

Photos by : Chris Grant

Monday, November 18, 2013

This, Too {giveaway}

Today’s giveaway is from Kari from the blog This, Too and shop This is Found Here. I've known Kari for a while now and I can honestly say she is a friend. We haven't met in real life, but she has been there for me in the virtual kind of way through ups and downs and always offers the sweetest and most thoughtful support and advice. I feel very blessed to have met her through the internet.

Kari is giving away one of her fun handmade necklaces to a lucky reader and 15% off to her shop with the code MERMAID15 until next Friday, November 22nd. I have one, and I always get compliments on it. I had a bracelet too, but it got lost in the night when I broke my thumb eating-it into the beach this summer while pushing our dinghy on shore. 

Here are some of her words about her shop, This is Found Here:

"I wanted to make something that allowed girls of all ages to make their own stamp on the world. Sometimes that perfect accessory can be that little something extra that makes the whole outfit work and makes you feel great wearing it. That is why I called my line of necklaces, headbands, and hair pins "This". This to me can mean a multitude of things. This is that perfect moment where everything seems to make sense. This is everything that makes you who you are. And This is about finding out who you are and making your own statement on the world."

And here's how to enter the giveaway: 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 15, 2013

Thankful Things

This week I'm thankful for...
Small things, unlikely treasures, keepsakes, souvenirs.
The sun seems to show-off most when it's setting in the fall. It's nice to have a moment to pause and watch it go off.
Time to play on new surfaces 
(in my activewear from Roxy)
This country is special.
Before Scott and I left for a surf shop party the other night, I was putting away a necklace in the jewelry box he gave me when he proposed. When he asked what I kept in there, I showed him how I saved all the little metal keys that came as the tags on some of our wedding gifts. He admired one in the fading daylight and said "It says 'Pottery Barn' on it" and we laughed. I love sentimental things, even if they are retail gimmicks.
I'm thankful for my friends and their quirks. Here, Basia demonstrates both her beautiful long hair and her total inattention to tangles. 
I thought the waves were going to be bad yesterday, but they weren't. 
Our kitchen is missing. We're having 20 people over for "Friendgiving" in t-minus eight days. I'm trying to use this experience as an opportunity to grow into a more mellow and go-with-the-flow kind of person. Mostly, I just keep telling myself "It will all get done. It will all get done" and then leaving the house.
 It's nice to put your feet up after a day that has been both long and short.
I don't really like graffiti, but the positive, eventually erasable kind isn't so bad.

What are you thankful for this week?

p.s. if you buy an ad on my blog from now until next Friday I will donate 100% of the proceeds to the American Red Cross disaster relief in the Philippines. Same with Oh Dear Drea. Contact me here!